Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten run continued with a 0-0 draw at Wigan’s DW Stadium this evening.
Michail Antonio had two good chances for The Reds either side of the break but there was nothing he nor his team-mates could do to prevent a third successive 0-0 scoreline in the Sky Bet Championship.
Stuart Pearce made one change to the side that drew against Brighton on Saturday, Eric Lichaj claiming the left back slot ahead of Danny Fox. Matty Fryatt was named on the bench after recovering from an injury which had kept him out since The Reds’ win at Sheffield Wednesday in late August.
Henri Lansbury started the game in a deeper position with Antonio offering assistance to Britt Assombalonga up front. And Antonio had a brilliant chance to open the scoring on 12 minutes.
Lansbury’s quickly-taken free-kick sent Assombalonga chasing after the ball, which he controlled near the left-hand byline. He gave it to Lichaj who had enough time to switch on to his right before firing a cross-cum-shot across goal. Antonio was waiting at the back post but, stretching, he could only volley the ball over the bar with Latics keeper Scott Carson nowhere to be seen.
The home side responded with two chances of their own in quick succession. Captain Emmerson Boyce headed the ball wide from a corner before James McClean found the roof of Karl Darlow’s net with a superb acrobatic effort after latching on to Andy Delort’s lovely lobbed pass into the area.
Keen to halt the hosts’ momentum, Forest pressed and had a chance through Antonio. The powerful winger skipped away from a number of challenges and, with the rain coming down hard, slipped when he struck the ball towards goal. He still managed to generate good contact but it skidded along the turf and into Carson’s grasp.
The wet conditions were making life difficult for both teams and the final chance of a scrappy first half went to young midfielder Ben Osborn on 33 minutes. He showed quick feet with his back to goal to get away from his marker but miscued his shot from the edge of the area, ballooning the ball high and wide.
Boyce, who had earlier sustained a knock to the head, was replaced at the break by Leon Barnett.
Forest emerged unchanged and a had a chance to take the lead within two minutes of the restart. Robert Tesche’s wriggled his way into a dangerous position before shuffling the ball to Lansbury. The former Arsenal man dragged the ball wide from the edge of the area.
And The Reds went close again on 49 minutes when Assombalonga showed good strength in the area before drawing a good save from Carson at his near post.
It was Darlow’s turn shortly afterwards when Mancienne was caught out by Carson’s long punt forward. Delort latched on to the ball in the area but Darlow narrowed the angle to make the save .
Wigan were coming into the ascendancy and should have had the lead just before the hour when McClean showed excellent pace and poise to skip past Forest’s defence and into the area. With only Darlow to beat from 12 yards, the winger could only fire the ball wide.
And Antonio was guilty at the other end two minutes later. Chris Burke waited for Jack Hunt’s overlap before the full back dinked the ball over to the back post. Arriving late, Antonio could only head the ball over the bar from close range.
Pearce made his first change of the game on 72 minutes, replacing Osborn with Fryatt and dropping Antonio back on to the left wing.
And it was after good closing down by Fryatt that Forest came within inches of opening the scoring. The forward’s tenacity led to Tesche picking up possession, allowing the German to cross the ball into the area.
Ivan Ramis half-cleared with his header but Lansbury did brilliantly to control the ball before sending it skimming along the side-netting with a low drive from the edge of the area.
Forest were looking the more likely side to break the deadlock as the clock ticked down, and they had an excellent chance to do so on 83 minutes. Hunt got to the byline and crossed the ball low and hard across the face of goal. Assombalonga couldn’t get to it in time and it ran across the box and away from danger.
Four minutes of added time were indicated at the end of the match, in the last of which Assombalonga won a corner. Lansbury’s overhit delivery sent the ball all the way out for a throw, ensuring the game ended goalless.
Forest: Darlow, Hunt, Mancienne (C), Wilson, Lichaj, Burke, Tesche, Osborn (Fryatt, 72'), Antonio, Lansbury, Assombalonga
Bookings: Lansbury 26', Mancienne 52', Hunt 84'
Subs not used: De Vries, Lascelles, Harding, Fox, Grant, Veldwijk
: Carson, Taylor, Ramis, McClean, Huws, McManaman (Maloney, 59'), Boyce (Barnett 46'), Cowie (Riera, 73'), Perch, Kvist, Delort
Bookings: Taylor, 88', Huws, 88'
Subs not used: Al Habsi, Tavernier, Forshaw, Fortune
Referee: Kevin Wright
Attendance: 14,078 (Away: 1,263)